17 October 2017

Failed reform off the agenda for convocation


The RACGP has declined to revisit its failed governance reform vote at its annual conference in Sydney this month.

However, the College has accepted a motion calling for more transparency around how it spends membership fees at the convocation session to be held at GP17 on Friday, October 27.

The convocation item on fees and value for money was submitted by Dr Ashlea Broomfield, a GP on the NSW mid-north coast, who was the college’s Registrar of the Year in 2015.

“What does the RACGP do for me? Why should I be paying full membership fee rather than just CPD/QI?  Why should I not register with another CPD provider?”

Dr Broomfield said in her submission that these questions were common among colleagues when the topic of fees came up around the end of the financial year.

The squeeze on incomes from the prolonged Medicare rebate freeze meant many members were struggling with the costs of the professional organisations.

“They must choose which memberships are of most value. There is general concern for how funds benefit members.”

She proposed that the RACGP undertake a “process of targeted, true engagement” with grassroots members to determine what they value the most in their membership.

In other motions, Dr Broomfield asks for detailed, accurate information on how the college spends members’ fees, and requests it take steps to make education events and conferences more affordable.

In her convocation item, Dr Karen Flegg, a NSW and ACT faculty member, requested details on Council’s decision-making and costing processes around the failed plan to restructure the RACGP’s executive.

The proposal to insert a smaller skills-based board above the Council was rejected at an electronic EGM in June, which drew a record vote of more than 2300 members after a sometimes-fiery debate.

Dr Flegg asked the College to rake over the ashes of that defeat, saying the EGM had highlighted a “lack of transparency” about information about the appropriate use of money.

She asked for a full report on the technical trouble that aborted the first attempt at an online EGM and sought confirmation on whether the proposed governance model had been costed before Council voted to proceed with it.

In his reply, Council Chair Dr Tim Koh said the item was not considered appropriate for convocation.

He said the proposed governance model had been amended numerous times in response to feedback from members with the costing and details being reconsidered each time.

Queries about technical issues at the first EGM had been answered in a report on ShareGP, he said.